The role of the Digital Single Market Unit and Digital Economy Unit in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is to:
- ensure a whole of government approach and cross government coordination of the DSM agenda;
- lead the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Digital Single Market, which is chaired by the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation;
- play a leading role in the development of the new National Digital Strategy by furthering proposals on how to develop the optimal digital ecosystem for SMEs and increasing Ireland’s digital competitiveness;
- represent Ireland on the MS Group assisting the European Commission in developing, progressing and actioning an EU Coordinated Plan for Artificial Intelligence and preparing Member State Digitizing European Industry Country Reports;
- develop stronger networks with other like-minded Member States, particularly the Digital 9+ countries (D9+), that is, the top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI);
- support joint initiatives by the Taoiseach and relevant Ministers;
- liaise closely with the Minister of State with responsibility for e-Government;
- strengthen engagement with the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD and Irish stakeholders on the digital transformation agenda; and
- provide progress reports to the Cabinet Committee on European Affairs and other Cabinet Committees, as appropriate.
Inter-Departmental Committee on the DSM
The key focus of the IDC is on ensuring effective whole-of-Government engagement with the EU DSM Strategy, particularly in terms of developing a coherent and coordinated approach to matters that cut across the responsibilities of individual Ministers, Departments and European Council formations. Relevant Ministers and Departments will continue to lead on the key files in their respective areas of responsibility. However, there is also acknowledgement that many of the files have cross-cutting implications.
The IDC on DSM includes representatives from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, IDA Ireland and the following other Government Departments:
Representatives from the Departments concerned attend the IDC meetings to update Minister Troy on the latest developments relating to ongoing work on the digital agenda every two months.
The E-Commerce Act 2000 is dealt with by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.
Digital Single Market Bulletin
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment produces a Digital Single Market Bulletin which provides regular updates on key developments in relation to the digital transformation agenda in Ireland.
National Digital Strategy
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 includes a commitment to the completion of a framework for the development of a new National Digital Strategy (NDS) to provide a coherent view across sectoral policies to position Ireland to maximise economic and societal benefits from digitalisation and to ensure that all are in a position to enjoy those benefits. The effects of the digital transformation are expected to be far reaching and it will be important to ensure that no section of society gets left behind.
The scope of the NDS will be a high-level document providing an overarching long-term vision of the impacts of digitalisation on Ireland. It will take into account the many policy initiatives already in place or under development, to provide a structure and set of principles to give shape to Ireland’s digital transformation. It will map the connections between digital strategies, identify where there are policy gaps, which might lead to the creation of digital divides within society, and ensure that these are filled. Several Government Departments, led by the Department of the Taoiseach, are involved in the development of this Strategy. These Departments have undertaken consultations with stakeholders, initially to develop the framework for the NDS which has since been accepted by Government and subsequently to inform the content of the Strategy itself.
Ongoing initiatives relevant to the NDS include work on the digital transformation of business with a focus on SMEs and a study on Digital Skills.
Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
The Irish performance (and that of the other EU Member States) against the DSM initiatives set out in the Strategy is measured within the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The DESI is a composite index that summarises five relevant indicators (Connectivity, Human Capital / Digital skills, Use of Internet by Citizens, Integration of Digital Technology by Businesses, Digital Public Services) on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.
The DESI Index 2020 shows that Ireland is ranked as the 6th most advanced digital economy in the EU and Digital Transition continues to be a core economic and policy issue in Ireland.
Ireland’s overall score increased from 2019 to 2020 due to an improved performance in all DESI dimensions measured. Ireland improved or maintained our performance in 33 indicators within the Index and were above the EU average in 28 of these. Ireland continues to rank number one in the Integration of Digital Technology by Businesses category in the DESI 2020 and has maintained a leading position in the use of eCommerce by SMEs. Overall Ireland’s performance has steadily grown on the DESI since its inception in 2014.